20 Different Types Of Belts: When To Wear Them and How To Style Them in 2022

LifeStyle

Belts don’t just stop your pants from falling to your ankles. They’re also an essential accessory that can add some welcomed personality to your outfit. Whether you wear them with jeans, chinos, slacks, or shorts, there are many types of belts to choose from. Each offering your ensemble something a little different.

To help you get an idea of the wide variety of options available (and what you should wear them with), we’ve rounded up a heap of super stylish designs. From classic leather to reversible and braided, these are the game changers that are going to earn you maximum style points. Plus endless envious glances from friends and passersby.

Keep reading for our definitive guide to the best men’s belts.

brown leather belts - threesonsleatherco instagram
threesonsleatherco / instagram
man leaning against a piano
Luca Faloni

We’re kicking things off with a classic. One of the most popular (and oldest) types of belts is leather. It’s been around for so long, there’s no denying its appeal. Sleek, dependable, and undeniably stylish, it’s often teamed with smart or smart-casual attire. We’re talking wearing it with suits, slacks, and tailored shorts. There’s no room for super casual clobber here unless the buckles are big or the colors wacky.

As you would expect, there are endless options out there to choose from, but we think this one from Luca Faloni is well worthy of a mention. It’s made from the very best calf leather and finished with a silver-tone buckle that’s been hand-stitched. Better yet, the brand promises it won’t set off the alarms at airport security (although we can’t guarantee you won’t still be asked to take it off).

When You Should Wear A Leather Belt

As the leather belt is generally considered quite formal, you should wear it for those occasions when you’re smartly dressed. These may include business trips, weddings, parties, and baptisms. It’s also a great accessory to wear to work (if you’re based in an office, that is. Not a building site).

man leaning against a fence
antonipalmerx / Instagram

While not the real deal, a faux leather belt is a cheaper alternative to its genuine counterpart, saving you a few bucks while still looking the part. It’s also a great option if you want to avoid animal products. They look pretty similar, but many would argue they’re not as luxurious or quite as durable.

If we had to choose just one to recommend (and funnily enough, we do), it’s got to be this little beauty from ASOS Design. Both the belt and buckle are textured, so it will bring a nice splash of character to your semi-formal outfits.

When You Should Wear A Faux Leather Belt

The great thing about this faux leather belt is it manages to sit smack in the middle of smart and casual. The leather look and color tell you it’s perfect for formal occasions, while the subtle texture leans it more towards a relaxed way of dressing. While this may all sound a little confusing, it simply means you could wear the faux leather belt anywhere: work events, backyard BBQs, dinner dates… you name it.

man wearing a suit in front of a store
matthias.png / Instagram

As far as fancy belts go, the dress belt sits firmly at the top of the formal category. It’s the kind you would only wear when you’re strutting around in your finest tailoring and smartest slacks. You’ll find them in colors such as black or dark brown, and the buckle is always simple and classy.

This version from Hugo Boss offers everything you should look for in a men’s dress belt. It’s made from smooth leather, with a polished gunmetal buckle and the most subtle of branding. Bonus points are given for the 3.5cm width (a dress belt should be slim, not skinny, and certainly not wide).

When You Should Wear A Dress Belt 

Unless you wear a suit to work or like to dress to impress every day (kudos to you, sir), you’re not going to be wearing a dress belt all too often. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the must-have types of belts for men. You’ll definitely need one in your wardrobe; it’s key for occasions such as weddings, awards evenings, funerals, and graduation ceremonies.

man walking in the street wearing a braided belt
gurjsohanpal / Instagram

If you’re looking to add some cool Riviera style to your wardrobe, a classic woven leather belt is the ultimate accessory. Team it with a pair of stone chinos and a Breton striped tee, and you’ll be set for a lunchtime tipple as you soak in the sparkling waters and crystal-clear skies.

Not just for the idyllic beaches of the Mediterranean coast, this version from Savile Row Company is a versatile option that can work with everything from tailored shorts to casual pants and selvedge denim. It oozes luxury, and there’s no doubt it will be holding up your trousers for many years to come.

When You Should Wear a Braided Belt

Though you can wear braided belts any time of year (as long as your outfit is on the smart-casual side), we think they’re best suited to the summer season. There’s just something about the braided leather that looks super stylish with a pair of chinos or shorts. Pack yours for the next vacation, or wear one to a country wedding if the dress code allows it.

Man wearing a casual belt with denim jeans and a white t-shirt
thedenimdentist / Instagram

Though quite a broad term, a casual belt is simply the opposite of the types of belts you wear formally. Available in a range of styles and various colors, they can be made of leather, but you’ll also find them in other materials like suede or nylon.

You should wear casual belts with—you guessed it—casual or smart-casual clothing, but never with formalwear such as suits or smart slacks.

Apart from fabric and color, one of the main differences you’ll find between a casual belt and a dress belt is the buckle. While the latter is classic and simple, the casual belt has the freedom to be a little more creative.

Case in point is this modest masterpiece from Bleu De Chauffe. The pronged design clearly offers up something a little different and looks particularly great with flannel shirts and slim-fitting denim.

When You Should Wear a Casual Belt

This belt is your ideal go-to for every day; you shouldn’t wear one with suits or business attire (you’ll need a dress belt for that). Largely worn with jeans, khakis, and shorts, you could sport yours when heading for lunch with friends or if you work in a creative office with a relaxed dress code.

man leaning on a counter in a store wearing a snap belt
holdfastgear / Instagram

You’ve probably heard of most of the different types of belts for men we’ve listed so far. Correct? It’s not like we’ve introduced anything out of the ordinary (there’s no judging if you haven’t, mind). However, this next one may split the pack. The snap belt is going to be one of the lesser-known styles we mention, but it certainly deserves to be included. What is it? As the name suggests, it’s simply fastened by snap buttons instead of the classic buckle.

This one from F&L Classic would be a great investment. It’s smart enough to wear with jeans and Oxford shirts while still feeling at home with chinos and suede boots. You can choose from a variety of colors, but we suggest sticking to timeless versions in brown or black.

When You Should Wear a Snap Belt

The snap belt falls into the casual category and just about sneaks into smart casual. You could wear it with flannel shirts and khakis for semi-formal occasions, but it’s most suited for weekend escapades when you’re wearing jeans, cargos, and work pants.

Man looking away from the camera wearing a hat, open button-up shirt and cargo pants
omy_lope / Instagram

If you’re the kind of guy who likes to get the most bang for his buck (let’s face it, who doesn’t?), then the reversible belt is going to be of serious interest. As you’ve probably guessed by the name, it can be switched around to give you the choice of two styles. Pretty awesome, right?

The sheer versatility of this version from Timberland means it offers far greater value than its modest price tag may suggest. Giving you the option of brown or black leather, it’s about as classic as they come. We think it’ll go great with everything from jeans and a tee to casual shirts and chinos.

When You Should Wear a Reversible Belt 

A simple twist of the buckle is all it takes to swap between the sides of a reversible belt, giving you endless opportunities to wear it. As long as the style you choose matches your outfit, it can be used both casually and formally—taking you from weekend brunches to important meetings.

Man standing in front of flowers wearing a military belt, dress shirt and dress pants
jong._.9 / Instagram

Okay, so when we say military belt, we’re not quite talking about the kind you’d find on the Marines. Geez, imagine the strange looks you’d get if you tried wearing one of those to the movies… Luckily, the ones we’re referring to are slightly more appropriate for day-to-day life. Think green or black canvas, with a quick-release buckle and a rough and ready appearance.

This offering from JUKMO is made from hardwearing stretch nylon with a heavy-duty buckle. We like to imagine it’s the kind James Bond would wear if he were on a mission navigating some tricky terrain. Our favorite is black, but it’s also available in gray, blue, and green.

When You Should Wear a Military Belt

Ideal for outdoor adventures—whether you’re hiking or traveling across Europe—the military belt should go nowhere near formal attire, but it’s perfect for cargo pants and work boots. You could also use it to add some tough attitude to your favorite streetwear.

Man swinging a golf club
hotgolf / Instagram

You don’t have to stop at your team’s jersey to show off your love for sports; an athletic belt is the perfect addition to your ensemble. Often made from nylon or other flexible fabrics, they’re as comfortable as they are stylish. If you’re the kind of man that’s always on the move, this could be your guy.

Under Armour’s baseball belt is our top pick. Offering plenty of stretch and a large helping of durability, it’s the sort of accessory you’ll almost forget you’re wearing (until someone points out just how cool you look). The design is pretty minimal, but it’s finished with the brand’s logo and a sleek silver-tone buckle.

When You Should Wear an Athletic Belt 

Unsurprisingly, these types of belts are best paired with casual attire—so avoid wearing them with anything smart. Nothing ruins a good tuxedo more than an athletic belt, eh? It’s strictly T-shirts, jeans, and chinos with this sporty accessory. Wear yours to the game—whether you’re heading to the stadium or watching on your friend’s couch.

man with his hands up with peace signs wearing a western belt
bluecollarprep / Instagram

Howdy partner. There’s nothing better than a classic western belt to give your wardrobe a ranch-style upgrade. Western is one of menswear’s most unexpectedly wearable trends, and no outfit can be complete without a belt to match.

Equipped with an in-your-face buckle and made from strong leather, it’s the kind of accessory that shouts, “I’m the man.”

Plenty of top designers are in on the act, but one of our favorites comes from The Kooples. Made from luxury brown suede, it’s eye-catching enough without being unwearable.

You could go all out with a patterned shirt, jeans, and boots or use it to give semi-formal attire a splash of unapologetic attitude.

When You Should Wear a Western Belt

Well, you’ll be wearing yours to the rodeo, of course. But whenever you’re not watching cowboys ride broncos and rope calves, you can give western belts an outing at the weekend. We think they’re a fine choice for late-night bars and local bistros—especially when teamed with vintage denim and Chelsea boots.

man leaning against a wall with a plant next to him
lukerchen_ / Instagram

They can be a little harder to come by than some of the other types of belts for men, but the ratchet belt is definitely worth checking out. Unlike traditional belts, this one has no holes. Instead, it uses a ratchet mechanism that features a track system inside the strap. Why do we like them? Not only do they offer a clean look, but they can be cut to achieve your perfect size.

For value for money and versatile style, we don’t think you can get much better than this number from Bulliant. It strikes the perfect balance between smart and casual—looking just as good with slacks as it does with jeans or chinos.

When You Should Wear a Ratchet Belt

If you’re looking for a belt you can wear seven days a week, you may have just found your go-to style. The fuss-free design means it’s casual and formal, so you’ll have no problem wearing it to the office or at the weekend.

Man wearing a undershirt and jeans with belt
_macdaddy96 / Instagram

We know what you’re thinking. Haven’t you been telling us that most belts work with denim? They do, but not all of them. And even though some types of belts will look great with jeans, they may not necessarily fit through the loops. With a jean belt, you’ll never come across such teething problems.

ISTO. has come up with a real cracker that’s not just stylish but eco-friendly too. It’s made from veg-tan leather, which uses only natural tannins such as mimosa and tree bark. Serious bonus points for the brand’s transparency. Customers are given the expense for each and every component of the belt, so you can see exactly how much it costs to make.

When You Should Wear a Jean belt

Jean belts should be worn with jeans, of course (but no one is going to be calling the fashion police if you’re seen sporting yours with a pair of chinos). Just ensure you keep your outfits casual. We think they’re ideal for trips to the movies, backyard parties, and coffee dates.

man standing in front of building wearing double denim
tomjitsu / Instagram

A standard belt is equipped with a single prong. However, there are those that don’t settle for such modesty. The double prong belt contains a buckle with two prongs and double the number of holes. You’re left with twice the coolness and an accessory fully committed to keeping your pants up.

Ralph Lauren’s version boasts a simple yet effective design that’s the perfect partner to your favorite denim. As versatile as it is stylish, it’s made from Italian vegetable-tanned leather and finished with a pointed tip embossed with the brand’s iconic logo.

When You Should Wear a Double-Prong Belt

Seeing as this style of belt offers more of a statement than its single-pronged counterpart, it’s typically better suited to the kind of casual outfits you’d wear at the weekend. Whether you’re hanging with friends or hitting a bar, team yours with some vintage denim and a graphic tee to achieve instant style stardom.

man walking, carrying golf club
smallhandscreative / Instagram

When it comes to different types of belts, there really is something for everyone. The golf belt is an essential part of every golfer’s on-course repertoire. Not just keeping your pants or shorts where they should be, but offering all-day comfort as you complete your 18 holes.

This one from Adidas really does have it all. Sleek, durable, and stylish, it’s made from faux leather and can be worn one of two ways. While perfect for the green, it’s more than smart enough to wear in the clubhouse as you grab yourself some well-deserved refreshments.

When You Should Wear a Golf Belt

It can be tempting to wear something new wherever you go, but we’re asking for a little self-control here, guys. I’m sure your buddies are going to appreciate your golf belt, but it’ll probably raise some eyebrows if you wear it with your suit to meet those important clients. We suggest keeping this one for the course, but what you do and wear in your own home is completely up to you.

bluecollarprep / Instagram

Just when you think the fashion world has come up with everything, someone goes and brings out a belt with no buckle. Yes, really. The no-buckle stretch belt helps make day-to-day life more simple. There’s no need for fiddling around, and there’s nothing uncomfortable to dig into your belly. Just snap the buttons around your belt loops, and you’re good to go.

WHIPPY is to thank for one of the best. At just under $11, it offers a super cheap and convenient way to keep your jeans in place. You can still tuck in your shirt if you wish, but we think it works better as a silent assassin underneath.

When You Should Wear a No-Buckle Stretch Belt 

As mentioned above, one of the best ways to wear these types of belts is underneath an untucked top. There’s no buckle to stand in the way, so you can take advantage of this by teaming it with pretty much anything. You could wear it with jumpers at the weekend or your favorite button-down shirt for casual business meetings.

close up of a ribbon inlay belt
hippychichawaii / Instagram

Offering the best of both worlds, a ribbon inlay belt is part fabric, part leather. It’s a comfortable option for smart-casual outfits and gives your look a timeless preppy feel. You’re not going to wear this with formalwear, but it’s a must-have for your everyday looks.

This is Tommy Hilfiger’s version, which is a match made in heaven for a button-down Oxford, khakis, and penny loafers. It’s eye-catching enough to make a statement while remaining a versatile option that you can turn to on more than one occasion.

When You Should Wear a Ribbon Inlay Belt

Ribbon inlay belts are ideal for summer, so be sure to pack yours for those tropical getaways. They look particularly great with tailored shorts, boat shoes, and short-sleeved shirts. In those months when the sun is nowhere to be seen, they’ll look just as good with chunky knitwear, chinos, and boots.

two dodger players standing on the baseball field
therealdodgerhogs / Instagram

You don’t have to play for the New York Yankees to wear a baseball belt, but you should definitely take some sartorial tips from the players. The likes of Ron Marinaccio will tuck their shirt in, using the belt not only for comfort and performance but as a way to finish off their look in style.

Whether you’re a professional or play for fun on the weekends, this version from Champion Sports will ensure you can comfortably run, jump and slide to your heart’s content. Not forgetting you’ll look pretty damn cool too.

When You Should Wear a Baseball Belt

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s best to save yours for the field, but no one’s going to judge you if you wear it at the weekend with casual khakis and a polo shirt. Just don’t go teaming it with slacks and shirts.

l.l.wood / Instagram

If you’re looking for a lightweight belt that’s perfect for casual wear, look no further than the canvas variety. They’re also great for anyone shopping on a budget, as these types of belts are generally cheaper than leather options. Trust us, you won’t regret making this purchase.

The Fjallraven from Surfdome has caught our eye. Fully adjustable with a metal buckle, it’s giving us a real skater vibe, so we think it’s going to look great with loose-fitting denim and long-sleeved tees. At just over $30, you’re getting a lot of belt for your money too.

When You Should Wear A Canvas Belt

The canvas belt is strictly casual only, so you’re going to want to save this one for the weekend (or whenever you’re off-duty). It perfectly complements chinos and polo shirts, but don’t be afraid to wear it with jeans and tees when you head out for catch-up drinks in the city.

man standing holding a road bike
tods / Instagram

Alongside the classic leather belt, suede is one of the other most popular types of belts out there (and for good reason). They can be worn casually and formally while adding the kind of extra interest you just won’t get from other variations. Do we have your attention?

Our favorite is this one from Tod’s. Crafted from suede with a silver-tone buckle, it’s going to be your go-to accessory over and over again. As far as belts go, you’ll struggle to find many just as versatile. You could try looking, but we wouldn’t waste your time.

When You Should Wear A Suede Belt

You can wear suede belts just about anywhere (and with everything). They look just as at home with smart tailoring as they do with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Wear them for weddings, parties, and everything in between.

Dog sitting in front of a man wearing a d-ring belt and jeans and a t-shirt
Campbell Cole

D-ring belts are another accessory that fall into the casual category. They’re often crafted from canvas or other lightweight materials. The buckle is replaced by two D-shaped rings of metal that are used to slide the strap through and keep the belt in place.

Campbell Cole has managed to come up with a simple (yet super stylish) design that looks awesome with relaxed casual wear; we’re talking dad jeans, oversized tees, and high-top sneakers. The fact that it’s made from full-grain vegetable-tanned leather is a welcomed bonus.

When You Should Wear a D-Ring Belt

Seeing as D-ring belts are perfect for casual outfits, we think they’re the kind of accessory that will be a real hit at festivals and summer parties. You could wear them with denim and graphic tees or switch it up with shorts and wife beaters.

Braided belt - luca faloni instagram
lucafaloni / instagram

Types of Belts: Final Verdict 

Unless you’re committed to owning all of the different types of belts available, you’re probably going to want to know what styles you definitely can’t be without. We’ve narrowed it down to two: leather (for formal occasions) and braided (for casual). You can wear a leather belt with slacks, tailored shorts, and smart jeans, while a braided belt is a perfect complement to chinos, denim, and cargo pants.

Once you’ve mastered wearing these must-haves, we would highly recommend expanding your collection to include some of the others on this list.

FAQ

    • Not sure what belt size you should be wearing? The most accurate method is to actually measure a belt you already own (and fits well). Otherwise, put on a pair of jeans or pants you plan to wear with your belt. Using a fabric measuring tape, thread it through the belt loops (or around the waist) and pinch the two sides together where they meet. Find your measurement and then choose the belt size that’s one size larger.

      • To ensure you wear your belt like a boss, you should always wear formal types (smooth leather, for example) with formal attire and casual belts (canvas or roped) with casual or smart-casual outfits. Ideally, your belt should coordinate with your shoes—whether this be by color or style. A casual type of belt should be styled with sneakers and other casual footwear, while a leather belt will look best with a dress shoe.

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